Only 1 in 10 people know these 5 facts!Smart Will
Dying without a Will can have far-reaching consequences for families and loved ones, and yet 70 percent of the UK population have no Will in place.
Research has shown that only 1 in 10 people know some of the basic facts about the consequences of dying without a valid Will.
1. The Rules of Intestacy
When someone dies without a Will, all of their possessions and other assets pass in accordance with the rules of intestacy, to specified family members. This means that other loved ones may not receive anything, even if the deceased wanted them to inherit.
This can cause upset and distress at a difficult time and those who feel they should have received something from the estate may consider taking legal action. Once the court is involved, proceedings can be time-consuming and expensive and family rifts can be irreconcilable.
A Will not only lets loved ones know what you want to happen to your estate, it can also guide them as to your funeral and interment wishes. At a stressful time, this can be of great help and comfort.
2. Unmarried couples
Couples who are neither married nor in a civil partnership will not automatically inherit anything from each other. If they die without leaving a Will, then the rules of intestacy apply, and their estate will pass to specified relatives.
This can be difficult if a shared home is owned by a couple as tenants in common and half of it passes to other people, or if the deceased owned the shared home outright. It can also cause great emotional stress to someone who discovers that all of their partner’s effects will be removed and that they are entitled to nothing. There may also be a possibility of financial difficulty if the deceased had been contributing to their partner’s maintenance.
3. Care of children
If the sole parent of a child dies without making a Will in which they appoint a guardian for that child, then it will be for the court to decide with whom the child should live. This won’t necessarily be what the parent would have wanted. If the court cannot find a suitable guardian, then there is a risk the child may be put into the care system.
4. Inheritance Tax
For those whose estate is over the Inheritance Tax threshold of £325,000, opportunities to minimise the amount payable may be missed if they die without a valid Will. Writing a Will offers the opportunity to fully utilise tax allowances. This can be particularly useful for those who are married or in a civil partnership, where one partner’s unused tax allowance can be transferred to the other.
5. Big life changes
Even if you already have a Will, you should review it in the event of any major changes in circumstance. This is particularly important if you marry, as marriage invalidates any pre-existing Will unless it was specifically made in contemplation of the marriage.
If you divorce, this has the effect of removing your ex-spouse from the Will, meaning that if your Will left everything to them or named them as your executor, your estate may pass under the rules of intestacy unless an alternative was specified.
It is also advisable to draw up a Will in the event of marriage where one or both parties has children with someone else. Failure to do this can mean that children lose out on their inheritance as dying without a valid Will means that a majority of the estate will pass to the new spouse. A Will can also protect assets for children while still allowing a spouse to benefit from them during their lifetime, for example being able to remain in a shared home for as long as they need to, but with it then passing to the children.
These are just some of the reasons it is important to write a Will expressing your wishes. By using our Smart-Will™ Will writing app you can quickly and easily create a valid Will that makes sure that those you love benefit from your estate and know what you would like to happen after your death. Our online Will writing service is a fraction of the cost of a solicitor, but offers full support as well as free lifetime updates.